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Friday, September 29, 2017

The Beauty of Day Travel

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote an article for LinkedIn. Since I want to break into travel writing, I've been working on pieces to include on LinkedIn. I just hope people don't find them unprofessional! Then again, travel writing is a profession...

I cannot believe how quickly the summer flew! As I have mentioned many times before, I love to travel and experience new cultures; I find meeting locals and exploring new places thrilling. However, with the budget I set myself on this year, traveling far was out of the question. I was fortunate to travel a bit this summer, though most of the trips were only for a day. Day trips are just as beneficial as overnight trips, and Atlantic City taught me this lesson. While Atlantic City is not some exotic location, I still had much fun at the beach and meeting new people. These experiences taught me the importance of getting away, even for just a day, and that inexpensive trips are just as wonderful as extravagant travels.
On July 7, I made the trek to Atlantic City for the day. Despite the forecast, I decided I would still go to the beach. It was only supposed to rain in the morning, and by the afternoon, the sun would be shining brightly. I made plans to visit the Atlantic City Aquarium in the morning to stay out of the rain.
When I arrived in Atlantic City, the weather was humid and foggy. The clouds were an ominous black, but they did not burst on my commute to the aquarium. The Atlantic City Aquarium is in the residential part of Atlantic City; it is about ten minutes away from the beaches, and I lucked out with the rain. I was dropped off at 9:30 and had a half an hour to walk around the little shops of Crafter’s Village.
Crafter’s Village had quaint, picturesque shops. I brought Wesley and Mini, a miniature knitted bear I ordered from the UK (the bear was hand knitted with rare Castlemilk Moorit fleece) and wanted to get a picture of the two bears in front of the ice cream parlor. Unfortunately, the ice cream parlor did not open until noon, and we could not enjoy a scoop of ice cream. I made my way to the other shops and found myself in a knick-knack shop. The owner saw me taking pictures and invited me in. The store had much junk, but she allowed me to keep my belongings in her shop while I visited the aquarium. I thought that was very sweet of her and before I left, she covered my backpack, bag, and lunchbox with a pink blanket.
On my way to the aquarium, I wanted to stop to look at the sundial and garden surrounding the sundial. What a lovely little garden and the sundial was neat. It would have been a perfect place to meditate and write if the weather had been cooler. I loved the wildflowers and black-eyed Susan that surrounded the gardens. I especially liked the bear sculpture that sat surrounded by the black-eyed Susan and had to get a selfie with it.
I loved the aquarium. I loved petting the Australian sharks, sting rays, and the chocolate chip starfish they had. The starfish was a bit bumpier than an average starfish, it almost felt like a toy. However, watching the live feeding of the rays and other fish was the best experience of the aquarium. I have always loved aquariums, and although the Atlantic City Aquarium was tiny, I still loved my visit, enjoyed watching the jellyfish, and watching the turtles.

As soon as I saw the sun poke out, I knew it was time to get going. I spent around an hour-and-a-half inside the aquarium and knew it was time to go. I went back to the knick-knack shop, bought potpourri and postcard as an appreciation of thanks, and ordered Lyft to get to the beach since it was ten minutes away. I am glad I did because the driver brought me to the beach in front of Tropicana. He said that was one of the bigger beaches.
It was overcast, and fog smothered the buildings. The driver did say that this fog happens because of the coolness of the water and the humidity of the air, it would dissipate once it rained. I was swimming when I noticed an hour later that people were leaving the beach. It was pouring, and I rushed to put my bears back in their bag. I wanted Wesley and Mini to experience a day at the beach. However, unfortunately, Mini’s tag smudged, but the Bears were okay. It rained for a good hour, but I continued to swim. We could swim since there was no thunder.
After the rain had ended and the sun started to come out, I noticed the fog that covered the builders were gone, just as the driver had said. The beach did look beautiful. I took Wesley and Mini out of their bag, they sunbathed, and I went back into the water after I had a water break (I packed four bottles of water to keep myself hydrated throughout the day). As soon as I went back into the water, this seven-year-old saw me and wanted to play with me. He called me a new friend and I had a new buddy for the next two hours. I admire the energy he had and his sense of adventure. He wanted to get deeper into the ocean, but I held him back and said where we were swimming was deep enough. He listened, and we either jumped or swam under the waves. Another boy he met on the beach joined us too.
I met a lot of friendly people on the beach. As I was photographing and getting a few selfies, this one guy sitting near me took notice. He came over to me and said, “I saw you were taking many selfies, do you want me to take a few photos?” I smiled and said sure. It was fun, and we both laughed throughout the photo shoot. Towards the end, I ended up taking a selfie with him. Before I went back into the water, he threw a football to me, but I missed. The seven-year-old saw, and he ended up playing football with the older guy. It was lovely to watch.

Both groups left at about 4 o’clock. Before the little boy left, I noticed he was leaving his toys in the water. I collected them and brought them back to his parents. His parents were grateful and thanked me for keeping an eye on him. Before the left, they took a photo of the little boy and me to put into my happiness box. The little boy thanked me for being his friend. I love traveling and meeting new people when I travel. I tend to meet friendly people on my travels and learn a lot from them and the new areas I visit.
I spent the next hour-and-a-half swimming and diving under the waves. The sun was fully out by that point, and I wanted to enjoy the sun, even though I was sunburned. I had to take pictures too. By 5:30, I was getting tired and decided to listen to WRTI for an hour while I rested and watched the waves. It felt soothing to listen to classical music on the beach and was a great ending to a fun-filled day. I had a great time in Atlantic City, and it was the perfect spot for a day trip.
I loved my trip to Atlantic City so much that I decided that I would venture back towards the end of summer. I made my way back to Atlantic City on August 26, the week before Labor Day. Unlike in July, the day was supposed to be sunny and 75℉. When dad dropped me off at the P & W (high-speed line), the day was living up to Adam Joseph’s (6ABC’s weatherman) predictions.
As I waited for the New Jersey Transit bus in Philadelphia, a young man sat down next to me and asked me about the bus. He was going to Atlantic City for the day. After telling him about the bus and guessing where his accent was from (I thought it sounded Eastern European, but it was Brazilian), he said he was visiting Atlantic City for the day before heading to New York City for the week and heading back home to Brazil.
He was kind and friendly. We spoke about traveling and how customs change from locations. I was telling him about my hope to move to Canada and that I was learning the metric system. He laughed and quizzed me until it was time to board the bus. I did get most of the conversions right, which made me proud since math is not a strong suit of mine. Listening to my iPod on the bus, I did not talk to anyone; yet, when we arrived in Atlantic City, he wished me the best of luck. I thanked him and wished him safe travels.
I did not go anywhere before the beach—I went straight to the beach. The weather was perfect, and I had a great time walking on the boardwalk. Before I went to the Tropicana Beach, I saw the display for Miss America. I had to stop and take pictures, especially one of me being “crowned as Miss America.” That was fun.
Although it was windy on the beach, the weather was still beautiful. There were times where the ocean temperature was warmer than the air temperature. I loved catching waves and somersaulting under water. It is amazing how I can do handstands underwater, but I cannot do a handstand to save my life above water. That was fun as the waves were splashing against me. I have always been a water bug and water has always seemed to recharge me, I did not want to get out of the ocean.
However, I did take water breaks to keep hydrated. At one point, an ice cream man came around, and I had to get an ice cream sandwich. As I was eating the ice cream sandwich, I saw the guy I was chatting with while swimming. He was visiting from Voorhees and was spending the day with friends. I could see the way they were passing around the camera, the different poses, and selfies that it had to be a reunion of some sort. After I finished my ice cream, I walked over and offered to take a group picture. They were friendly people. Later on, I managed to get a selfie with the guy from Voorhees; whenever I travel, I tend to get selfies with people I meet. It is fun to look back on how many friends I have made on trips.
I had a lovely day at the beach, and as I was taking my last water break, a woman sitting behind me said I could have her already paid for the rental chair. She was leaving for the day and wanted me to have it, free of charge. I relaxed for an hour and listened to WRTI, the classical radio station I love. It felt nice to unwind to Beethoven, Mozart, and Brahms and watch the waves. I swam for five hours, and I closed my eyes for 15 minutes. My stress drifted away with the beach breeze.

I am now a convert to day trips. While I do love getting away overnight from time to time, day trips can be just as relaxing. I met many lovely people in Atlantic City, and I could recharge my batteries for almost free of charge. Travel, whether for only a few hours or months, can teach us all about humanity.

I'll have to write about my August 26th trip to Atlantic City in full some other time for this blog. October or November, promise!

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